A day after the derailment of Patna-Indore Express in Kanpur that left at least 133 passengers dead, Railway minister Suresh Prabhu made a suo moto statement in Lok Sabha briefing the House about the accident and details of relief and restoration work carried out by his ministry.
Here is the full text of Prabhu's statement:
Madam, with profound grief, I inform the House of an unfortunate accident of Train No. 19321, Indore–Rajendra Nagar Terminal, (Patna Express) between Pokhrayan and Malasa stations on Jhansi – Kanpur section of North Central Railway at 3.04 hrs on 20.11.2016.
14 coaches of the Train derailed between Pokhrayan and Malasa stations. Three out of these coaches capsized. As per available information, till now 133 passengers lost their lives, 58 passengers sustained grievous injuries and 122 passengers sustained simple injuries in this unfortunate accident.
Immediate, efforts were made to provide relief and rescue. Local ambulances were rushed to the site and the injured passengers shifted to nearby hospitals.
Railway medical vans from Kanpur and Jhansi were moved to the accident site. General manager and chief safety officer, North Central Railway rushed to the site immediately to supervise the relief and restoration works. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team and army battalions also reached the site for rescue and relief operations.
Minister of state for railways Shri Manoj Sinha, member rolling stock and member engineering also rushed to the site. I, along with chairman Railway Board, visited the site of accident and met the injured passengers admitted in the hospital.
On humanitarian grounds, an enhanced ex-gratia amount of Rs 3.5 Lakh each to the next of the kin of deceased, Rs 50 Thousand to the grievously injured and Rs 25 thousand to passengers who sustained simple injuries is being paid.
Hon’ble PM has also announced additional ex gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh to the kin of dead and Rs 50 thousand for each of the injured passengers.
Statutory inquiry by commissioner of railway safety (CRS) into this accident has been ordered to determine the correct cause of the accident.
There shall be separate comprehensive investigation aided by latest technical and forensic analysis by an appropriate agency to look into all possible angles. Strictest possible action would be taken against the guilty.
All stranded passengers have been moved to the destination by a special train from Malasa station. Adequate help and assistance was provided to the stranded passengers.
Old-technology ICF coaches already in operation lack the crash-worthy characteristics of modern coaches. I had informed this House during the previous Railway Budget to progressively replace and phase out such coaches. This will be expedited.
On behalf of the Railways and myself, I express deep condolences to the bereaved families and also express sincere sympathies to the injured. I trust the House will join me in extending heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.